Boxing on premium channels has just ended for 2013. And what a stupendous year for boxing fans it has been! So many great bouts to watch, seemingly every week. It truly is the cherry on top for Showtime to end the year with the the great spectacle of Broner-Maidana. Other than Bradley-Provo this was the only fight that had me off the couch yelling at the TV and the fighters. The subsequent threads on BLH were as entertaining as the fight itself.
One notable boxing story this year was the continuing promoter cold war and the rise of Showtime as a consistent place to watch great boxing. Showtime aligned itself exclusively with Golden Boy causing HBO to publicly state that they would no longer deal with GBP. That left HBO with Top Rank, second tier promoters, and non-American promoters and fighters.
I can relate to this because in some ways my home life is the Boxing Cold War in microcosm. The dog (GBP) has aligned with me (SHO) even though my wife (HBO) nurtured him during his puppy days. The cat (TR) has historically only dealt with me when it wanted something; every once in a long while coming over for a pet and purr when it fits her needs. Otherwise the cat just shows love for my wife. I don’t have an official policy against the cat but I leave well enough alone. Meanwhile, my wife has proclaimed that she will proffer no walking or feeding duties toward the dog. One obvious difference is that occasionally the dog and cat square off against one another, although those bouts are declared No Contests.
Anyway, as much as I got tired of reading about which network is better I thought it would be fun to pit both HBO and SHO against each other as if in a boxing match. 12 months = 12 rounds. Scored with a 10-point must system. Criteria is a combination of scheduled bouts and the results. Competitive fights fans wanted get credit even if it wasn’t a great match. Scheduled fights that didn’t seem like much at the time but exceeded any and all expectations get credit as well. This isn’t the best way to judge the networks just a different way.
NOTE: This includes PPV events put on by either network but does not include ShoBox Fridays, HBO2, or SHO Extreme.
NOTE 2: I’m sure I may have missed an HBO or SHO televised event. Just let me know.
HBO- January 19, 2013
Garcia vs. Salido
Golvkin vs. Rosado
Martinez vs. Burgos
SHO- January 26
Matthysse vs. Dallas Jr.
Charlo vs. Yorgey
Aydin vs. Soto-Karass
SHO was originally supposed to air Garcia-Judah which would have made this month a bit more interesting. Garcia-Salido was unfortunately abbreviated by Garcia’s broken nose but GGG-Rosado was one-sided fun. The HBO card was the better event for the month. A feeling out kind of first round but HBO takes it.
MONTH 1: HBO 10 SHO 9
HBO – February 16
Broner vs. Rees
SHO – February 23
Smith vs. Bundrage
Love vs. Findley
I did not watch this SHO card but I can’t imagine it was any good. Not even sure if HBO aired anything else besides Broner-Rees, which wasn’t that great either. Tempted to declare this month a draw but will give the edge to HBO because this was the fight where some boxing analysts started to point out that Broner was a bit too easy to hit and wondering how he would fare against an opponent he didn’t have such a size advantage against. HBO squeaks by because, well, Broner.
MONTH 2: HBO 10 SHO 9 (HBO 20-18)
SHO – March 2
Richar Abril vs Sharif Bogere
Gary Russell Jr vs Vyacheslav Gusev
HBO – March 9
Hopkins vs. Cloud
Thurman vs. Zavek
HBO – March 16
Bradley vs. Provodnikov
Vargas vs. Omotoso
HBO – March 30
Alvarado vs. Rios II
Prescott vs. Crawford
HBO airs my "Fight of the Year" and a decent sequel to one of the best fights last year. The jury is still out on Vrawford but it was a good HBO debut going up in wieght to take on Prescott on short notice. Was Hopkins-Cloud and Thurman- Zavek the last GBP show HBO aired?
MONTH 3: HBO 10 SHO 9 (HBO 30-27)
HBO- April 13
Nonito Donaire vs Guillermo Rigondeaux
SHO – April 20
Canelo Alvarez vs Austin Trout
Omar Figueroa vs Abner Cotto.
HBO – April 27
Chris Arreola vs Bermane Stiverne.
Sergio Martinez vs Martin Murray
SHO – April 27
Danny Garcia vs Zab Judah
Peter Quillin vs Fernando Guerrero.
Khan-Diaz (Tape Delay)
Things are starting to heat up in April. HBO brings out the big names in Sergio and Nonito. SHO responds with Canelo and Judah. HBO was supposed to air Abregu—Decarie along with the Sergio fight but bad weather changed those plans. This is a tough month to score. Nonito loses in a not so great but not so terrible fight, Canelo wins in a very close fight ( I had Trout winning), Sergio ekes it out in his native country during a hellacious rainstorm, Figueroa blows out A. Cotto, Judah makes it an interesting fight in the later rounds, Khan looks shaky, and Arreola-Stiverne is a very good HW fight. HBO airs the best fight of the month (Arreola-Stiverne) while SHO airs the fight with the most impact as Canelo defeating Trout sends him over to Floyd later in the year. HBO has the previous year’s Fighter of the Year lose and Sergio lose a step or two. Tough. Based upon the Canelo impact I will give the month to SHO.
MONTH 4: SHO 10 HBO 9 (HBO 39-37)
SHO PPV – May 4
Floyd Mayweather vs Robert Guerrero
Daniel Ponce De Leon vs Abner Mares
Leo Santa Cruz vs Alexander Munoz
J'Leon Love vs Gabriel Rosado.
SHO – May 18
Lamont Peterson vs Lucas Matthysse
Devon Alexander vs Lee Purdy.
HBO – May 25
Carl Froch vs Mikkel Kessler II
HBO put on the best fight of the month in Froch-Kessler. Matthysse generates loads of excitement with his KO of Peterson. With Garcia fighting the month before it is a nice set-up for the fall. SHO gets it with increased activity.
MONTH 5: SHO 10 HBO 9 (HBO 48-47)
SHO – June 8
Marcos Maidana vs Josesito Lopez
Alfredo Angulo vs Erislandy Lara
Jermell Charlo vs Demetrius Hopkins.
HBO – June 8
Chad Dawson vs Adonis Stevenson
Yuriorkis Gamboa vs Darley Perez.
HBO – June 15
Mikey Garcia vs Juan Manuel Lopez
Terence Crawford vs Alejandro Sanabria.
SHO – June 22
Paulie Malignaggi vs Adrien Broner
Johnathon Banks vs Seth Mitchell II
Sakio Bika vs Marco Antonio Periban.
HBO – June 29
Gennady Golovkin vs Matthew Macklin
Thomas Oosthuizen vs Brandon Gonzales
Willie Nelson vs Luciano Cuello.
The first half of the year ends on an excellent note. The strength of Maidana-Lopez and especially the Lara-Angulo fights almost propels SHO ahead of HBO. Bika-Periban was a good brawl but the Mitchell-Banks stinker and the tentative Broner doesn’t help SHO. I think that the big KO of Dawson and GGG taking out Macklin in 3 is enough to take the month.
MONTH 6: HBO 10 SHO 9 (HBO 58- 56)
SHO – July 27
Andre Berto vs Jesus Soto Karass
Keith Thurman vs Diego Chaves
Omar Figueroa vs Nihito Arakawa.
HBO has no answer this month even though SHO didn’t really provide much. Berto-Soto-Karass was a good scrap and made many want to see more of Soto-Karass. I wasn’t as impressed with Thurman-Chaves as others. Thurman showed some improvement but it wasn’t a real water cooler like performance. Figuero-Arakawa was an all action fight that lacked drama as Figeuro was clearly winning at all times. No less entertaining for that just not dramatic. Overall, it was a good night of fights and showed off the stacked cards approach that SHO utilized. HBO had nothing in return. I’m going 10-8 SHO only because the opener was good watchable boxing.
MONTH 7: SHO 10 HBO 8 (66-66)
HBO – August 17
Daniel Geale vs Darren Barker
Jonathan Romero vs Kiko Martinez
Cleverly vs Kovalev
SHO – August 24
Abner Mares vs Jhonny Gonzalez
Victor Terrazas vs Leo Santa Cruz.
Another month of low activity from both networks, Geale- Barker was the best fight, Martinez upsets Romero in a good scrap, and Kovalev rumbles onto the HBO scene by destroying Cleverly. But the upset quality of Mares-Gonzalez gives it the edge. Barely.
MONTH 8: SHO 10 HBO 9 (SHO 76-75)
SHO – September 7
Seth Mitchell vs Chris Arreola
Rafael Marquez vs Efrain Esquivias.
SHO PPV – September 14
Floyd Mayweather vs Canelo Alvarez
Danny Garcia vs Lucas Matthysse
Ishe Smith vs Carlos Molina
Ashley Theophane vs Pablo Cesar Cano.
HBO – September 28
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr vs Bryan Vera
Adonis Stevenson vs Tavoris Cloud
The Mayweather-Alvarez card was watchable (I was about to say eminently watchable but I remembered Smith-Molina). Placing Garcia-Matthysse on the PPV undercard was a great way to get fans even more excited to fork over $75.
MONTH 9: SHO 10 HBO 9 (SHO 86-84)
HBO – October 5
Wladimir Klitschko vs Alexander Povetkin
Miguel Cotto vs Delvin Rodriguez
Terence Crawford vs Andrey Klimov
HBO PPV – October 12
Timothy Bradley vs Juan Manuel Marquez
Orlando Salido vs Orlando Cruz
Vasyl Lomachenko vs Jose Ramirez
Seanie Monaghan vs Anthony Caputo Smith.
HBO – October 19
Mike Alvarado vs Ruslan Provodnikov
SHO – October 26
Bernard Hopkins vs Karo Murat
Peter Quillin vs Gabriel Rosado
Deontay Wilder vs Nicolai Firtha
HBO wins this month. Bradley-Marquez was a very good, tense bout, Provo continues to prove he is more than a FNF guy and Cotto returns to HBO strong.
Month 10: HBO 10 SHO 9 (SHO 95-94)
HBO – November 2
Gennady Golovkin vs Curtis Stevens
Magomed Abdusalamov vs Mike Perez
HBO – November 9
Rocky Martinez vs Mikey Garcia
Nonito Donaire vs Vic Darchinyan II
Vanes Martirosyan vs Demetrius Andrade
HBO – November 16
Andre Ward vs Edwin Rodriguez
HBO PPV – November 23
Manny Pacquiao vs Brandon Rios
Zou Shiming vs Juan Tozcano
Evgeny Gradovich vs Billy Dib II
Andy Ruiz Jr vs Tor Hamer
HBO – November 30
Adonis Stevenson vs Tony Bellew
Sergey Kovalev vs Ismayl Sillakh
HBO airs boxing 5 Saturdays in a row. HBO’s "epic fall" doesn’t really live up to its own hype but SHO provides no offense or defense. Even with a completely subpar Pacman undercard I’m giving HBO a 10-8 month for complete domination.
MONTH 11: HBO 10 SHO 8 (HBO 104-103)
SHO – December 7
Zab Judah vs Paulie Malignaggi
Devon Alexander vs Shawn Porter
Erislandy Lara vs Austin Trout
Sakio Bika vs Anthony Dirrell
HBO – December 7
Guillermo Rigondeaux vs Joseph Agbeko
James Kirkland vs Glen Tapia
Matthew macklin vs. LaMar Russ
SHO – December 14
Adrien Broner vs Marcos Maidana
Keith Thurman vs Jesus Soto Karass
Leo Santa Cruz vs Cesar Seda
Beibut Shumenov vs Tamas Kovacs
Kirkland-Tapia was a crazy battle for a few rounds but the fight as a whole was marred by letting it go on at least one round, probably two, too long. The Battle of Brooklyn disappoints but wasn’t a complete stinkfest as was Rigo-Agbeko. But then the last SHO card of the year happens. Thurman impresses (I was impressed) and Broner-Maidana was a great night of boxing. As someone else said in one of the post fight threads Maidana beating Broner is one of the nights that boxing fans dream of. A load of fun to watch and cheer and something to be excited about. Good judging in Texas to boot!
MONTH 12: SHO 10 HBO 9 (DRAW 113-113)
There we have it. Boring and indecisive. A draw. Going month by month isn’t even the best way to analyze the network battle. Why did I even bother? No matter how you score it the biggest winner is the fans! Here’s to a great 2014!